Health and safety in East Anglia

Birketts LLP

'Whenever we call they respond quickly and appropriately,' says a client of the regulatory and corporate defence practice at Birketts LLP, which handles health and safety matters. The firm has extensive cross-industry experience in serious health and safety, defence including disasters and multiple fatalities. Barrister Matthew Gowen in Ipswich leads the practice, following the departure of Laura Thomas to take up a non-legal role. The team contains solicitors, barristers, and health and safety consultants, among whom are former HSE Inspectors. Senior associates Philippa Dyer and, in Norwich, Julie Gowland play key roles in the practice.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Gowen

Other key lawyers:

Philippa Dyer; Julie Gowland


The Birketts regulatory and corporate defence team is always there for us. Whenever we call they respond quickly and appropriately. We consider them an extension of our business and a key part of our team. They offer excellent legal counsel, are consistently professional and we rely on their broad knowledge base to guide us in a compliant way.

Matthew Gowen and Philippa Dyer are independently professional and very competent. When fused as a team they form a winning group. Nothing is too much trouble and they strive to provide the absolute best advice and guidance.

Key clients

Petrogas Group UK Ltd

KLM UK Engineering Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advised Petrogas Group UK on a health and safety-related investigation.
  • Advised KLM UK Engineering Ltd after a health and safety incident.

Greenwoods GRM

'This firm is of a size to provide a competent and professional service, whilst remaining small enough to provided the personal touch,' says a client of Greenwoods GRM. The firm's regulatory practice, which handles health and safety matters, is led by Kathryn Gilbertson in Peterborough, who is regarded as one of the leading business defence practitioners both regionally and nationally. She 'consistently gives realistic and balanced advice to clients, from a position of sound expertise'. The firm is best-known for its work in the hospitality, SME manufacturing and construction sectors.

Practice head(s):

Kathryn Gilbertson


This firm is of a size to provide a competent and professional service in its chosen fields, whilst remaining small enough to provided the personal touch.

Kathryn Gilbertson consistently gives realistic and balanced advice to clients, from a position of sound expertise. She maintains excellent client relations at all times. She deals with matters in a timely, skilled and efficient way. She makes use of expert opinion as appropriate.

All our dealings with the employment/health and safety practice have been positive and beneficial. They are quick to respond, clear in their advice and always happy to help.

I always come away from a meeting with Kathryn Gilbertson having learnt something useful. She is approachable and knowledgeable but applies both to the context of the support, question or query we have.

Key clients

Dacorum Council

Unite PLC

Moy Park Ltd

Crown Lift Trucks

Camelot Real Estate Management Ltd

McColl’s Retail Group PLC

Work highlights

  • Advice to Dacorum Borough Council during an investigation by HSE after Dacorum reported several cases of Hand Arm Vibration under RIDDOR and in the subsequent prosecution.
  • Advice to Fairline Boats Ltd following worker amputating fingers whilst carrying out a complex lift.
  • Instructed to advise one PACE interview for McColl’s Retail Group PLC.

Gotelee Solicitors

At Gotelee Solicitors in Ipswich, veteran litigator Hugh Rowland, who has been with the firm for more than 30 years, focuses on business crime, fraud and regulatory offences. This sees him involved in defending actions brought by the HSE and local authority departments. Howard Catherall is a leading adviser to the logistics industry on criminal matters including investigations by the police, DVSA and Trading Standards.

Practice head(s):

Hugh Rowland

Other key lawyers:

Howard Catherall

Work highlights

  • Advising a company which supplied a science product to schools which contained a hazardous substance; advising on the recall and liaising with HSE concerning an enforcement notice and further action.

Hunt & Coombs LLP

Hunt & Coombs LLP in Peterborough has experienced criminal lawyers in practice head Simon Milburn and Andrew Cave, both of whom have considerable experience in health and safety matters. Cave has Higher Rights of Audience and Milburn has more than 20 years' experience in presenting cases to court. They act for both individuals and corporate clients, and their work includes appeals against health and safety prohibition and improvement notices, assisting with investigations and prosecutions for breaches of regulations, and  advising on health and safety compliance.

Practice head(s):

Simon Milburn

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Cave

Key clients

Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (formerly VOSA)

Work highlights

  • Advising the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (formerly VOSA) on prosecution work.

Mills & Reeve LLP

The regulatory practice at Mills & Reeve LLP specialises in regulatory enforcement actions and related advice. Particularly active for clients in the education and healthcare sectors, it handles defence work in a broad range of industries. Partner Duncan Astill in Cambridge advises on corporate manslaughter and HSE prosecutions, Care Quality Commission enforcement actions, and inquests. Litigator Jamie Wheatley, who leads the regulatory, public and commercial disputes group, is also recommended. Principal associate Amanda Narkiewicz  is a rising star in the practice.

Practice head(s):

Duncan Astill; Jamie Wheatley

Other key lawyers:

Amanda Narkiewicz

Howes Percival LLP

'The firm has a strong understanding of clients' needs,' says a client of Howes Percival LLP. Practice head Alan Millband is mainly based in Leicester but increasingly works from the Norwich office, which handles both contentious and non-contentious work in a range of sectors but is particularly well known for its work in the minerals and extractives industry. Legal director Robert Starr, who works in both Cambridge and Northampton, handles health and safety and fire safety matters, often in the rail, food, retail and care sectors.

Practice head(s):

Alan Millband

Other key lawyers:

Robert Starr


The firm has a strong legal understanding and knowledge of H&S matters. It provides detailed responses to client queries and advice.

The firm has a strong understanding of clients’ needs.

Key clients

Citation Professional Solutions (H&S Services)

Hamilton Deed (H&S Services)

AHR Consultants (H&S Services Division)

Rotherham United Football Club

Logistex Limited (Warehouse Installations)

Poundstretcher Limited (Retail)

Institute of Quarrying

Anchor Hanover Group (Care Services)

Work highlights

  • Advised, assisted and represented Rotherham United Football Club in relation to a fire safety prosecution.
  • Advised and assisted the leading UK health and safety support services provider Citation in averting unmeritorious investigation by the Health and Safety Executive.